REVIEW

Movie Review: The X-Files: I Want To Believe

July 27, 2008
Aaman Lamba

The X-Philes might not have been waiting breathlessly for a renewed fix of the once exciting series, wishing to relive the excitement of the first movie feature, yet, they surely had higher expectations from the second - expectations that have been barely met in what might have failed even as a direct to video release.

In The X-Files: I Want To Believe, both Fox Mulder and Dana Scully appear far more jaded and disinterested than they should be, even after all these years in the wilderness. Mulder is still searching for answers and meaning while Scully has decided that Our Lady of Sorrows offers better solace than the unwanted FBI unit she gave much of herself to. They spend much time not quite speaking to each other, and while the same might have been true on the television series, a younger, driven Mulder meant the story was moved along despite, or rather, because of their dysfunctional relationship. Their relationship in the film has moved way beyond the occasional pat on the back to a surreptitious living together, which comes as a real surprise.

Chris Carter prefers to explore the characters' motivations more in this film than the trademark unknowables that we might have expected. It seems at times a cross between a police procedural and a medical thriller than a  fast-paced supernatural adventure. The tension is still there, though, and this film might pick up a larger following once it is out on DVD, and with much aficionado-driven analysis.

Without giving away too much of the story, it does not revolve around aliens, and does not go too mystic. Even so, the concept is not quite ordinary, yet one can see the resolution a long while before it actually arrives. The journey is as interesting as the end, though, and the snowy hills of Virginia cover more secrets than just secret medical experiments and rabid dogs. The power of the film lies in the secret sharers rather than the secrets they share.

Additional subplots seem pointless, like the treatment of 'difficult' patients in the healthcare system by passing them off to another provider, responded to by Dr. Scully with the highly advanced technique known as Googling.  The 'new' Mulder/Scully duo switch roles, with Dakota Whitney (Amanda Peet) wanting to believe and Mosley Drummy (Xzibit) offering the jaded counterview. The FBI needs to bring a defrocked pedophile priest in because of his supposed psychic abilities rather than a profiler. The nature of his involvement in the larger plot is part of the mystery, but I can say that his history gives us an excellent scene between ASAC Whitney and Father Joe on the nature of self-loathing and forgiveness.

The movie, in short, is a mixed bag of classic X-Files shenanigans and adult emo drama. It works, but only if you're willing to let go of your expectations and ten years of waiting. If you want to believe, in short.

Aaman Lamba is the Publisher of Desicritics.org, a Blogcritics network site. He also blogs, more infrequently nowadays, at Audit Trails Of Self
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#1
Temple Stark
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July 28, 2008
04:42 PM

I meant to comment when I read this the first time. I never expected this film to be a big hit, even the 1st certainly wasn't and this is 10 years removed. That it generated even slight buzz goes to the power of the original series.

Even the first film was considered merely a longer episode of the program. But it interconnected so well and had answers, that this one presumably does not.

I do view this film as a missed opportunity, but for me, it's still the best film all year.

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